More women to be allowed to serve in the Estonian military

The Estonian defence minister, Jüri Luik, signed a bill that allows more women than before to serve in the Estonian military, and on top of that, women will be able to serve in all branches and units of the military.

Luik said in a statement that as volunteers, women will have more options if they can choose whichever branch or unit they want.

“Our goal is to expand the opportunities for women to be included in the conscription and allow them to serve in the same units than male conscripts,” he added.

In 2018, up to 108 women will be allowed to join the regularly all-male conscript service.

Women have been allowed to serve in the conscript military since 2013. That year there were 15 women taking up on the opportunity; in 2016, their number had risen to 33. In 2017, 91 women are allowed to serve in the defence forces and 27 have already joined the service.

The final number of women who join the conscript service will depend on the amount of the interested females.

All conscripts, whether male or female, will have the same rights and responsibilities, the defence ministry said.


Cover: Women in the Estonian Army (courtesy of Estonian Defence Forces).

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About the author: Sten Hankewitz

Sten Hankewitz is a lifelong journalist and Deputy Editor of Estonian World. Having lived in Estonia, Spain and the UK, he now resides in the United States. He loves to write and besides contributing to Estonian World and some occasional blogging, he writes for other media outlets in Estonia, Israel and elsewhere. He has strong convictions and he shows them unashamedly. You can follow him on Twitter, friend him on Facebook or check out his personal blog. You can write to Sten at